Arsenal 1-2 Porto: Fabianski flops but I hope we see more of him

Arsenal were made to pay for two awful defensive errors as they were beaten 2-1 by FC Porto in the Estádio do Dragão. The result leaves Arsene Wenger and our boys needing a win at home in three weeks time to qualify through to the quarter-finals.

Injuries meant the team I predicted yesterday started as Denilson slotted in for Alex Song, Samir Nasri and Tomas Rosicky supported Nicklas Bendtner up front and crucially, Sol Campbell and Lukasz Fabianski replaced William Gallas and Manuel Almunia.

This was a game dominated by four incidents: Porto’s opener, Campbell’s equaliser, the missed penalty and the winning goal.

Porto’s opening goal was officially credited to Silvestre Varela but made possible a horrible goalkeeping mistake by Lukasz Fabianski. Gael Clichy could have done a lot better to prevent Varela getting in his cross but this was bread and butter for a goalkeeper with as much talent and ambition as he has.

With our boys rocking we excellently found a way back into the game through Campbell’s thumping header. It was a great moment for the player, made possible by his determination and self-belief and a clever setup by Rosicky. The goal calmed our team, so much so that we had the better of the first half – going close from a Rosicky belter and a Bendtner header – and began the second in a good position.

Abou Diaby was having a marauding game in the centre of the park as Cesc Fabregas was cut down every time he touched the ball. But with the away goal under our belts and Porto getting in behind our wingbacks too frequently, Wenger appeared to ask Diaby to sit deeper to help out the defence. The move essentially backfired as Denilson once again failed to assert himself and Porto went on to win the game.

It may have been a different if Rosicky wasn’t denied the clearest of penalties.

I said a few weeks ago that I was starting to get sick of continuously being denied penalties, but this was the worst so far this season. After beating his marker Rosicky was clearly brought down while he attempted to cross the ball, yet the referee inexplicably waved play-on. It was unfair, ridiculous, preposterous and begs the question: when will referees forget about the Eduardo incident against Celtic and just make the decisions regarding our club based on what is in front of them?

Somewhat inevitably we were punished for that error, even if the manner in which it happened was anything but.

Under little pressure from a Porto attacker a miscommunication between Campbell and Fabianski saw the defender make the softest of back-passes that the goalkeeper instinctively collected. The referee justifiably blew the whistle, demanded the ball back off Fabianski, handed it to one of the Porto attackers and he quickly passed to Falcao who sidefooted into an effectively empty net. It was a shocking moment, eventually made worse by the hope that the goal would be chalked off but wasn’t, and one that has put the tie back into Porto’s favour.

The first thing that needs to be said regarding the goal was that the referee was not to blame. It was a clear backpass, the attacking team should in no way be asked to wait for the defending team to organise for a free-kick and they are well within their rights to take it early. For someone who promotes attacking football, Arsene Wenger’s bizarre suggestion that it should not have been able to be taken quickly was nothing but hypocritical nonsense.

So who was to blame?

It would be easy to blame Fabianski completely but I feel a large part of the responsibility also lies with Campbell. Before the defender makes his microscopic touch the goalkeeper is gesturing quite clearly that he wants to collect the ball, so Campbell’s decision to make contact was a poor one. There’s no denying that the goalkeeper should have reacted by hacking the ball into touch but if Campbell can make an instinctive error to make contact then surely it’s easy to see how Fabianski could do the same by picking up the ball?

Perhaps the hardest thing to swallow was the naivety shown by Fabianski to simply hand the ball the referee. Again this was something of an instinctive decision but he should have punted it into touch before he considered giving it to the referee. Harsh, I know, but these are the sort of moments that provide stark reminders that we continue to lack the mean streak which is so necessary to win titles.

The remainder of our second-half performance was poor as we never really recovered from the second goal. Campbell’s header provided the perfect tonic to Fabianski’s early blunder but a second mistake was just too much for the team. Diaby and Rosicky faded, Fabregas continued to be chopped down every time he got the ball and our only real chance to score came late on as substitute Emmanuel Eboue’s cross for our captain was agonisingly cut out by a Porto defender.

I feel there were some big questions that came out of this game. Is 2-1 a good result? Can we turn it around in the second leg? And perhaps most importantly, what are we going to do about our goalkeepers both now and for next season?

The first two questions are relatively straightforward. No, this wasn’t a good result. A draw or a win would have been a good result and to lose in Porto in the manner we did was nothing to be happy about.

However, we can certainly still win this tie. We will likely have Alex Song and Andrey Arshavin back for the return-leg and even without that pair we have a team good enough to do the job. The first goal will certainly be important but Porto are notoriously bad travellers in Europe and with our home form as good as any side in the Champions League you have to fancy our chances. In my eyes there was nothing to suggest that Porto are unbeatable and I fully expect us to get the job done, even if we do it by the skin of our teeth.

The goalkeeper situation is a complex one and I basically have two suggestions as to what Wenger should do.

The first suggestion is to maintain Manuel Almunia as first-choice until the end of the season, before selling him and and spending decent money on a top-class goalkeeper to go straight into the team. He would then be backed up by Fabianski, Vito Mannone and the apparently awesome Wojciech Szczesny.

The second suggestion is to play Fabianski for the rest of the season. If he performs well keep him on as first-choice for next season and sell Almunia, if not, sell both goalkeepers and go with the plan above.

This might sound crazy after last night’s game but I honestly feel Fabianski could develop into a top class goalkeeper if given a decent run in the team as opposed to facing high-pressure games in fits and starts. It appears that every time he pulls on the Arsenal goalkeeping shirt he is putting too much pressure on himself and it is having a negative impact on his performances.

Perhaps he would do better if the manager pulled Fabianski aside and told him that he’s giving him the opportunity to prove himself this season. It could be argued that it might add MORE pressure on his shoulders, but I feel that a continued run in the team would give him the time to make his mark.

The risk with the second plan is that Fabianski could completely implode and cost us games. But I think that is a risk worth taking, particularly considering the alternatives. Personally I would keep him in.

Anyway, something to chew on after a tough night in Portugal.


Have your say on Arsenal’s 2-1 loss to Porto by leaving a comment.



  1. please mate, do not make stupid comments like that. Can you recall any moment in football where an indirecr free kick in the penalty box has been allowed to be played early? Anywhere else on the pitch is fine. why is it a penalty when a foul or a ball is handled only in the box? the rules in the box are totally different from anywhere else on the pitch. Can you take an early penalty before the keeper is ready? come on mate. Also if you watch the incident closely, you will notice that there was a tussle between fabianski and the opposing player for the ball imediately the referee blew his whistle. The ref stepped in and fabianski handed him the ball.what would you expect in such circumstances? he gave the ball back to the porto player ,blocked campbell and after the ball went in the net raised his hands to indicate an indirect free kick , then bizzarly allowed the goal to stand? i think the ref blundered seriously or he knew what he was doing.

  2. Enough is enough, we have two clown goalkeepers who are costing us big time. Shay Given could have been there if Wenger had spent when he should. Now I am not going to tell the great man what to do but please Arsene, ditch these two ASAP and buy a quality keeper that this team and all it’s supporters deserve.

  3. He was absoloutley poor tonight, so where alot of our big players, Clichy did nothing for me all night and was being skinned all night. We need a new keeper with premier league experience like Jaaskelinen anyones better than Fabianski, id rather put Mannone in there. Also bedtner was poor again just holding the ball up but doing nothing else at all, nasri and rosicky were both poor aswell not creating anything for Bedtner. Poor poor performance, but we got an away goal so its not the end of the world, just hope we can beat them at home. But having no quality striker is really starting to show now

  4. @ Andy, This would have to be the first time i am going to disagree with something you have wrote as usually i reckon your right on the money. In regards to the decision with the 2nd goal the blame 80% lays at the feet of the referee, and this is the same incompetent person involved in the world cup qualifier fiasco. I don’t believe it was clearly a backpass as i had to wait for the slow motion replay to notice it brush Sol’s foot, so how the referee from 20 yards behind could see that touch is super human really or has the reaction of the porto player effectively made the decision for the referee? The ball was played from behind the referee so it was from in front of where the free kick was awarded, he only called play after the ball had been played and then blocked off our defender from making any attempt from defending the play (not that Sol could of caught them at all).. Sol could of called to Fabianski that he had touched the ball so to clear it and Lukas should have held on to the ball to hold up the play until the defence was organised.

  5. Generally I thought that Sol had a good game and scored a good goal. However, as the ball was going back between him and the keeper if the defender does not get a call then he should take responsibility. For me, the keeper was already bending down to collect the ball but obviously did not make a call. After Sol touched it then I think that the keeper was already committed to picking it up that he really did not have much chance to change his mind. Why then, did Sol just act like a spoilty child with his hands in his head and not react – to me this is just lack of match practise at the highest level. I do not believe he was blocked as he claims, he simply did not expect a quick free kick and thought a little display of annoyance would probably land the keeper with the blame. Overall, a silly goal to concede from Arsenals point of view, but a well worked quick opportuniastic free kick from Porto’s. Don’t think it should make any difference to the overall tie as with the away goal, Arsenal must still be clear favourites to proceed

  6. Has arsene lost the plot?is it time for a rethink /will theo ever make the grade his only contribution was to pull out a 50/50 ball.fabregasas body language in the after match interview dosnt bode well for the future odds on he isnt here next season,we have never replaced key members of the old team,to many pretty pretty lightwieghts no real battlers in the team

  7. The mediocrity must be shipped out! I cant believe how many players we have who just arent good enough, who just are “ok”, maybe for a sunderland/west ham side that is. Why cant Wenger buy a decent goalkeeper? why must he always choose the ones no one elese wants a feel he needs to prove everybody wrong? Why does he persist with non-defending fullbacks? Why do we have 6 exactly the same types of players up front in the first eleven without any chance of changing our tactics in a game? once we get stuck were done! Why cant he bring in a real striker who only wants goals? When are we gonna see one of those strikers who isnt interested in assists or stylish play or anything like that, a Nistelroy/Etoo type? I was just hurting yesterday when I noticed Fabregas just thought “why should I pass to this guy, he cant do s*** with it!” Thats the reason he got caught yesterday Im sure of it! Even though most of us see it and knows axactly why we lost the game Wenger wont see it, he is blind when it comes to this team, he will blame the referee and just say Fabianski will come good and only needs experience. I dream of a total remake of this squad in the summer, Get in Mourinho and let him have full control, what a sight!

  8. Have just watched recording of the game as circumstances prevented me from watching it live. It’s always different watching when you know the score so i think I can be a bit more objective than some of the previous comments from folk.
    My feeling is that we played quite well. Not fabulous. But not bad. Especially considering we were missing 3 of our best players in Song, Arshavin and Van P. I would also mention Gallas but I think that Sol more than made up for Billy’s absence and had a great game. What a geezer to score on his European comeback and he was sharp as a pin for that header.
    Porto were very nippy but they are also a horrible bunch of cheats who play some of the dirtiest football around – and always have done. They must have some sort of inferiority complex, being Portugese, because their attitude really is disgusting. That isn’t why we lost the game though. The reason is simple. Fabianski. Simple Fabianski. Man, I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate this guy and I would never ever let him play for Arsenal again were I manager. Every time he plays he is an utter disaster. I believe the man must be completely stupid. Apart from fumbling a wayward cross into his own net! (gasp) he picks up a back pass (his fault not Campbell’s) hands the ball to the ref like it’s nothing and walks away with his back to the action (gasp!) He’s actually looking at someone off the pitch and gesturing, taking no notice at all of what’s going on. Unbelievably crap. How could you ever trust him again? Although no doubt Arsene will as others have already said.

    Okay – sorry – long one from me and I don’t like comments that go on too long. When we play Porto at home I think we can assume at least that they won’t get away with so many fouls and cheats and therefore we should win.
    Oh and someone else in goal I pray. Mannone for instance.

    So chin up, Gooners. We’re not as bad a Flappawanky has painted us.

  9. I have never seen the word Fabianski written so much. Sad that he could not take his opportunity, i guess it just shows the frailties of players with no confidence. His two glaring errors were astounding which is a shame as he did some pretty good stuff to but its undone by the mistakes. To take some hope we did get the away goal and I think we will sail past them at home but its not going to get us to far if we keep on making such goalkeeping errors.

  10. I think campbell needs to give some of the lads a rollicking. some of them don’t know its a privilege to play for the arsenal, sol definitely knows it. Some of our players are at best championship material..they will end up like quincy owusu! AW needs to say it in the press that fabianski cost us the game. If he can praise fabi in the press he should be able to set him straight in the press too! With this kind of keepers we can just wait for next season and hope that AW brings in two keepers (remember when he lehmann was signed he was an instant success, there is no time in giving goalkeepers time to adjust) another LB, another DMF!

  11. I disagree Andy, Porto did not have the right to take that freekick quickly. The ref took the ball from Fabianski so the freekick should have been taken at the ref’s signal. How he allowed it to stand is beyond me. We were robbed.

  12. Everyone here is comfortably thinking “Oh, we will beat FC Porto easily but we won’t win the CL”. Two seasons ago, that 4-0 was an accident due to a lot of coincidences – while you’re conveniently forgetting that further down the road we beat you 2-0 at home and relegated you to second place in the group …

    It also reminds me of 2004, when on our way to the trophy we beat Man Utd tossers at home by… 2-1 before equalising on the last minute of the second leg in Old Trafford, 1-1. Porto was by far the best team in the tie them, and while this 2010 FC Porto side is admittedly not as confident since it’s based on a lot of new and/or young players, it’s now leading the tie and has, position by position, more quality than Arsenal (namely in GK, central defense, wings – Varela and Hulk can be brilliant – and striker – Falcao scores more alone than all your so-called forwards put together).

    I expect FC Porto to go through, naturally.

  13. I do think we spend so much time faulting the team on aspects that are so obvious. I have never doubted the fact that we are week defensively and strong offensively. Everyone knows that. We do not have a good goalie and trust me there are not many out there.

    ….Am also getting tired of hearing the same comments each time we loose or drop points. Its becoming very typical of Arsenal fans – and that is why some media houses question whether there are any TRUE Arsenal Fans out there.

    …Look at Pompey – They are a club in a disaster – total mess. But guys, you should visit a Pomey Fanbase – I did not even know that one existed until I collided into a buddy who is a Pompey die-hard. Those guys are loyal and it does not matter what happens within the club, – they will chant to the last minute and protect their club from the external forces.

    Yes, we lost a game last night. It hurts, but surely, do we always have to chop off players each time. A few weeks back Cesc was the best in the league, now, his is distracted. Cammon now – these are Human beings – who have awesome days and terrible days.

  14. I agree with some points as above stated but backing fabianski no i disagree with that i think he has had is far chance and he needs to show what he can do with what ever games he gets. Tell me one EPL,CL games where he may not be in pressure. Handling pressure situation under any circumstance is what makes one person better or bad or worst. I AW should stop mulling about the decision going against him ever Football team will his day of luck. He should be more concern about the way we play and about the strategy and teams mentality. AW is making me sick with his decision.

  15. You’ve got a laugh though when you see Flappawanky’s own goal. What an utter loser. And you want him back, Andrew! Yeah – great! Let’s play him as much as possible! I could do with a laugh.

  16. Zero: absolute gobshite mate. what game were you watching to say porto were the better side? They scored coursey of our mistakes, they were happy to sit back with 2-1, the way they kept fouling Cesc someone should have seen red & i’m no doubt that if they do that at the emirates they’ll get sent off/

    open your eyes we lost the game due to GK errors not because we played bad. Yes we should have scored again to make it 2-2 but im confident with ashravin back we’ll line up the 4-3-3 & rip them apart like the last time when they came to the em’s

  17. If we were given an opportunity to meet our most revered icon – perhaps the elite sportsman, actor, politician and the like, we would seldom be satisfied at a momentary glance. If we aspire to become like our admired celebrity, we would crave an opportunity for their advice. Consider then our action when Pramukh Swami Maharaj arrives at the gates of our mandir. The lights of the Haveli beam brightly as devotees jostle for every inch of their desired position. Eyes are transfixed towards the chair on the stage, where he offers his darshan. His soft, soothing words are spoken for the very first time in many months, perhaps years, the atmosphere is blissful, radiating with divinity in his presence. The mind is a powerful enemy, overpowering the greatest intentions and compromising the wishes of our Guru. Lapses in the fundamentals of our Satsang have become common, to allow the mind to become satisfied.

  18. @zero – you’re making yourself look foolish. You were playing at home and you could only score when our keeper gave you one and the ref the other. What’s going to happen at the Emirates when your constant fouls are under closer scrutiny? I’ll tell you. 4-0. Like that so-called ‘accident due to coincidences’ last time!

  19. ..and that was never a deliberate back pass. Sol was guiding the ball back to Fabianski and it accidentaly brushed his boot. How the hell was that considerd as a deliberate back pass? That ref is a clown.

  20. Much as i would stay a true Arsenal fan come what may, Wenger must buy to win big! Right now our team is playing football bigger than themselves

  21. I still have to read ur article but the heading itself got me raging.
    U still want more of Fabianski ? why ? So that he can throw away more games due to his madness ? Isnt the 2 FA cups he has thrown away not enough ?
    Even I want to see more of Fabianski, but in our opposition.
    I can understand supporting our players when they make mistakes, but this has crossed all limits.

  22. andy,what you have written is rubbish and shows how little you understand the laws of the game.I’m surprised to see you say that an indirect freekick inside the box can be taken quickly.Why not just give an outright penalty.It has never been done anywhere bfore for a freekick like that to be taken a wall.What you said is utter nonsense.Rubbish.

  23. @ Hey Nonny – I can’t see many people agreeing with me regarding Fabianski, especially not at this stage. I have to say I have little bit of a soft spot for him because I think he’s a good talent and he seems like a very nice, intelligent guy. I think a run in the side and some confidence from the manager would iron out his faults, even if last night doesn’t suggest that.

  24. @Hey Nonny Mouse: as your level of comprehension of the football game seems to be, er, slightly subpar, I’ll try to dumb it down for you: FC Porto was the better team last night and for all the swipes at your GK, I remember him redeeming himself with a couple of very good saves too. FC Porto took the foot off the pedal after the 2-1 but Arsenal never looked dangerous apart from one play in the last minutes where our defense trembled. This FC Porto, being young and not that experienced at this level, will upset you at your Abu Dhabi-payed stadium. As I said, position by position, it’s a better team.
    As for your usual hooliganism on the pitch, it’s more of the same that English teams *always* display when playing against continental, more sophisticated teams. You can maybe get away with that in the FA Cup; not in Europe you can’t.

  25. So much for those Arsenal fans who only a week or so ago were lambasting Almunia and touting Fabianski as the next best thing to sliced bread or whatever,but with clowns like Clichy,Sagna ,Campbell and Gallas in your defensive backline there,s no way goals won,t be conceded.The glaring omission ,once again from the defence,Alex Song
    who has been strong and reliable covering for the other inept defenders for a while now.It,s time to put Clichy and Sagna on the bench so they watch and learn from Vermaelen and Song how to defend ,pass and carry the ball upfield as Clichy was totally out of his depth with Valera skinning him time after time down that flank.Sagn
    a does buggerall ,can,t pass ,can,t get around his opposition winger ,can,t put in a telling cross in the box ,runs around like a blue assed fly doing absolutely zilch.

  26. Just read the 365 article Andy and one quote in there shows true the way referee’s think “I think he touched it, and as a referee you have to give that”. So on that comment you don’t need definite obvious proof of the act but just to think the act happened?

  27. Hey Mr. @Bossey “yes-it-was-a-backpass-but-the-ref-shouldn’t-have-called-it-because-it-was-against-us” let me help you clarify things then!

  28. Good observations as always Andy. I actually agree with Arsene that an indirect free kick in the penalty area shouldn’t be allowed to be taken quickly. If it is, you’re left with a punishment that doesn’t fit the crime; it was better than having a penalty and all for a less-than-clear-cut intentional back-pass. But I fully accept that had we done the same thing we’d have been praising the quick thinking so it seems unfair to moan about it. However, all this doesn’t mean the ref should be blocking Sol Campbell from actually dealing with the free kick…absolutely ludicrous.

    I don’t like criticising my team’s players but Denilson needs to improve. I track my man on a Sunday afternoon but he chases shadows most of the game and is easily dragged out of position by experienced players. And when he loses the ball he tends to amble back rather than bust a gut, and this shouldn’t be good enough at Arsenal. It is easy to forget how young he is so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt, particularly as he is a squad player when everyone is fit, but I really want to see him concentrate more.

    Re Fabianski, I think you’re right about him and the fact that the games he has played aren’t accompanied by easier fixtures. But I do think Arsene will buy in the Summer now. I believe he’ll go for Hugo Lloris if he can get him, but as a British Italian, I can only dream of what Buffon could do for this Arsenal side. Too expensive though I suspect…!

  29. fabianski has had ample opportunities. I really really wanted him to do well but honestly Andy, when have you ever seen him be completely reliable in a match. It’s no use being good all through the match only to gift goals to the opposition, which he has consistently done.(Tottenham-Carling Cup S/F, Chelsea in FA Cup) The first team is NOT the place to blood his ”talent”.

    As regards the free kick. I don’t know what the rules are but conventionally free kicks like that are not allowed. The referee demanded the ball off fabianski and immediately handed it to the Porto player, didn’t tell him where to take it from, and allowed the goal to stand when even he wasnt ready. Even if it is legal why wasn’t that done everytime a free kick was awarded. Why were teams told to wait for the whistle on other occasions.

    I normally don’t say this but the referee was pathetic to the point that I seriously doubt he was fair. The constant kicking of Fabregas by the Porto players was ignored, the penalty wasn’t given, and Porto players were allowed to constantly kick as well as dive And on top of that moan. Either a cheat or a very weak referee.. Either way, he shouldn’t be officiating.

  30. We were lucky to beat liverpool , lucky to draw with villam, we lost to stoke, man utd. chelsea , porto , he `s got denilson playing , the goalies all put together in goal wouldnt make a decent keeper , fraid its time we sacked him , his arrogance is typical of his background.

  31. @zero, I would like to have an intelligent conversation between the 2 of us but for that to happen i will have to wait a while for you to gain some. Just about everything you have said is straight out rubbish and has no truth to it. I could go through your earlier statement and dissect it piece by piece and prove just how wrong you are but i really don’t need to waste my time on that as everyone except you can see how flawed and wrong you are about it.

  32. I insist on the fault of the referee too, this goal was a joke, (unfortunatelly not), but I read right now that a free-kick is to be repeated if at least one defending player is nearer than 10 yards towards the ball, Campbell was definitely nearer than 10 yards towards the ball, so it can’t be regular ❓ ❗

  33. As soon as I saw Fabianski’s name on the team sheet I didn’t think it boded well. The first goal via his mistake was shocking, I think the second goal was a God send to him because he might just be able to shoulder some of the blame with the ref, or Campbell. As the fans debate whose fault it was, maybe some of them will forget what a howler the first goal was.

    I’ve done a complete 180 on our keepers this season, they’ve let us down time and again. To have so many at our club with first team experience may mean Arsene is reluctant to buy any one else in, but he needs to get tough and axe Almunia and Fabianski at the end of the season. Fabianski is too eccentric for me, he has been give many chances and continually failed to impress. The irony is, Alex Manninger is doing well for Juventus!

    Zero, I don’t know how we are the thugs when we’re top of the fair play league in England, had one yellow card to your four, and conceeded 11 fouls to your 18. Maybe expand your comprehension before commenting? Your main tactic was to chop down our captain whenever he had the ball, that’s not thuggish I suppose?

  34. @ Zero – Zero the Hero are you lost??? this is Gunners blog… should maybe start one with the other 3 Porto supporters…. as for the tie it is half time(effectivly 2-2considering away goals) with the second half to be played at Emirates, we all know it will be a different game and the current scoreline isnt a bad one for us. Yes Porto played well and as always are a great competitor in Europe and everyone knows how difficult an away fixture it is that being said you were given two goals and thats all you were able to score???

    Fingers crossed its a different keeper, Mannone has been solid when called upon. As for Fabianski he can make some great saves but he has proven that at vital times he switches off for the most basic stuff and gives away cheap goals. It s always going to be difficult for a 2nd choice keeper in that situation but thtas too many school boy errors in vital games.

    You could also say Clichy is to blame for the first goal – thats the third game in a row he has looked pedestrian at best when challenged as the last line. Simply not good enough – shift Sagna to the left or even Traore, play Gallas in the position he played for Chelsea at Right back and have Verm and Sol in the centre.

    @ Samuel – you say Alex Song was a glaring omission from our defence……he was injured.

  35. With supporters like these, it’s not difficult to understand why the supposedly “big club” that Arsenal is, with lots of cash, tv deals and a free stadium (I just wish FC Porto could tap into a third of your income), actually wins nothing, zilch, nada, zero. You actually have the limited squad and the silly manager that your very limited view of football deserve. There is life beyond Islington…
    I am just going to make a simple player-by-player comparison that even Bossey or Mouse will be able to understand: GK – no comments (and Almunia is scarcely better than Fabianski); CDs – I wouldn’t replace either Rolando or Alves with Vermaelen, let alone big-and-slow Campbell (who did play very well though); SBs – please line Sagna and Clichy again in the second leg, Varela and Hulk ate them alive!; DMs – Fernando was probably MotM, while Diaby looked like a rugby player to me; CMs – admittedly Porto’s Achilles heel, and Cesc is class, but who is Denilson? Please be serious; AMs – while I’ve always been a fan of Rosicky, he’s erratic, while Nasri is a joke. While having different roles, Hulk and Varela are more dangerous (see SBs); CF – Bendtner is only good,
    Falcao is world class.
    Arrogance never won matches, I hope it won’t be this time either.

  36. For the life of me I can not see how introducing a play-off format to qualify for the Champions League could work.

    There are problems with the idea already.

    Is it fair that after 38 games in the campaign you finish fourth, only to then have to play a side who finished not only three places below you in the table, but a side who could have finished the season with 15 points less than you?

    If you lose what is the point of trying over 38 games anyway? Towards the end of the season you are so clear of that 7th and final qualifying place that you don’t need to even need to make the effort for the last few games.

    You could field a reserve side and whilst that is happening you could influence the table because your side know that they have already qualified for that play-off place. What do they care about the table now? You have nothing to play for.

    How can that be fair?

    Also, with no disrespect meant in anyway, what if a club like Stoke City came 7th and then won the play-off?

    Would it be a breath of fresh air? Yes, I hear the football purists say.

    What the purists do not think about is that Stoke then have to play a qualifying round of fixtures in August. Like we did against Celtic this season.

    What if Stoke were knocked out at this stage? It is more than likely. If this continued year-in, year-out, then England would lost the point quota that we have earned over the years and eventually we would lose that 4th qualifying place so it would then only be a top three finish that would get you into the Champions League.

    Then what happens?

    People will say that the so-called ‘top-four’ are protected. Well if it wasn’t for the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea, England wouldn’t have four places for the Champions League.

    There is always the chance that the ‘top-four’ monopoly could be spilt this season. At least if that happens you still feel that the likes of Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa could at least compete, reaching the group stages.

    And they would have earned that chance too. Finishing fourth in this league, with its quality, is no mean feat.

    But a side finishing 7th. It could be anyone.

  37. Arshavin, Song, Van Persie, Gallas all out injured for this game and all better than porto players in their respective positions FACT.

  38. andy,
    your spot on again….how can a manager and even fans of a team that preach about pro-active,exspansive football,whilst condemning negative anti-football tactics,then turn around and give out stink about a quick free kick????its beggars belief!!!!the only thing the ref can be blamed for is his retrieval of the ball and then positioning…both of which could hav been avoided if flappianski had held the ball and if sol hadnt gone walk about.
    some of you guys need to get real and not be always on the lookout for a scapegoat or a ‘reason’ as to why we get ourselves in these stiuations….remember henry has taken and scored quick frees in our favour when teams havnt had their wall ready!!!!if i remember the teams keeper was actually lining it up at a post….then theres the pires/henry penalty attempt that time that wenger defended as legal if it had worked.he needs to stop being a hypocrite and so do some of you
    fair enough we should hav had a pen…reality is we didnt get it,they scored and we still had a good half hour to respond,but you cant do that with fellas like denilson,nasri,bendtner,etc because they just dont have what it takes.chels or utd would hav responded there last night wit a half hour to go…..
    andy wot did you make of the substitution of rosicky first???i thought he was a threat and nasri was anonymous

  39. an era has ended. it is curtain call. rebuild the side. fire the coach.
    six years and nothing. just excuses and platitudes
    it is a disgrace how this is going.

  40. Ok, so we can’t change how the ref is going to react and make decisions. I don’t know if it was a bad call, but I know that the free kick shouldn’t have been conceded in the first place. I agree with brian that it was a moment of indecision between sol and fabianski, the keeper froze and decided to pick up the ball anyway.
    We know that Fabianski has a history of making errors. But AW probably won’t sell Fabianski this summer, he has faith in the guy. The solution is not to give him an extended run in the team as Andrew says – that will cost us dearly. AW has to send him out on loan for a while; he can get games under his belt and gain confidence and learn to deal with pressure in a milder form. Andrew is right that he’s thrown into the team in pressure situations. But then again every game is important when you’re at a club challenging for honours. Look at Tim Howard; too many mistakes at Man Utd, but after experience at a smaller club he’s turned into a very good keeper – better than ours infact!

    I’d like to see us sell Almunia and buy Sergio Asenjo from Atletico Madrid or even Udinese’s Handanovic who’d be cheaper. Lloris, Adler & Akinfeev are also awesome. Then Mannone and Szczesny can fight for 2nd choice while Fabianski goes out on loan.

    Arsenal’s scouts need to be re-evaluated – they’ve chosen Almunia and Fabianski (and Richard Wright!), while the youth keeper coaches did a good job with Vito and Szczesny. Also, everyone can forget about AW criticising players in the press – he will always look to shift the blame onto others to protect his players from the media. Imagine the drop in a player’s confidence if AW turned up at a press conference and had a go at them. No manager would do that nowadays. Finally, Clichy is a concern, he looks slow by his standards and out of sorts. I’d guess its because they probably rushed him back into action too soon after his injury, especially since Gibbs was out too. Traore is not really starting XI material. I reckon we’ll see the old Clichy maybe next season.

  41. with blundering keepers and the likes of clichy, denilson abd bendtner in the squad who will not get in any of the championship sides arsenal are not going win anything not only for this season for many more. Time for AW to quit otherwise the mighty arsenal will become a mid-table team.

  42. Nonsense with Fabianski. I think going for Mannone the rest of the season and then buying in the summer is the best. Almunia can play if he gets back but Fabianski should be in the freezer. No-one can recover from a debacle like this, the worst goalkeeper debacle I’ve seen. Of course Seaman’s letting in of that Ronaldinho shot comes to mind, but that was a great piece of skill by the brazilian whereas here it was just plain incompetence…

  43. @zero,
    your first few commments were ridiculous and smacked of misplaced arrogance…..but then you wrote that last one and you actually made a valid point….but the majority of arsenal fans dont rate players outside our club becos we hav become accustomed to great players like vieira,henry,bergkamp and adams,and we hav been promised theres more to come,and they all gobble that bull up and stick their heads in the sand when reality comes into play…but heres the thing,i can actually look at players objectively and you are right.porto hav a history of unearthing and producing great great talents on a lower budget than that of arsenals,we are told to be patient and trust year after year…..player for player last nite you were the better team…and maybe better squad….you won a CL title a few years ago and lost your core,mourinho,carvalho and the likes and you hav still been a consistent CL league contender narrowly losing out to utd last deserve some respect because,in essence,you are wot arsene wenger claims us to be,a team who can produce great talent and success at minimum expense…..not only did you shame us with a more capable and committed team last night you also showed how overpaid these arsenal ‘prospects’ are….honestly if some of you seen the wages some of these guys are getting youd puke
    that said you will find a different animal waiting for you at the emirates…song,arsha and gallas will return and hopefully mannone will get his shout after proving the most trustworthy in his appearances this season…you will come up short but you made a point last nite that all arsenal fans should look at and ask themselves….’are we really producing quality?’………..denilson,bendtner,fabianski,vela and the 23M combo of nasri and walcott??
    if wenger could spent 12m on nasri how cud he not spend 40 on a david villa??????????that my friends is really paying over the odds

  44. All you Arsene haters out there RELAX!! this man has done great things on the pitch early on bringing 12 trophies i believe and most recently he has overseen the transition to a new World Class Stadium to allow Arsenal to build into being one of the World’s biggest power houses. oh and while doing so we have competed in the toughest league in the world, made the final of the CL and built a side that is capable of developing (with some minor changes) into a dominant force that will be expected to win the League, FA Cup, League Cup, CL.

    We dont have Utd’s debt hanging over us or American bosses that are as dodgy as they come, we dont have a Russian Oil Tycoon messing with things he doesnt know about and thank the lord we dont have a Mexican waiter pulling the strings.

    Fact is we have a tricky home fixture that we only need to win 1-0 and we progress. We have a good run home in the EPL and whilst winning it is a long shot Utd and Chelsea will drop points we just have to make sure we dont.

  45. I’m portuguese and FC Porto Fan. I must say that you have a good team, but a really bad coach! The fact is that we have less resources than you and in the past 25 years we have more european titles than Arsenal, including 2 champions league!
    Your team have top players, and yes, Bentdner is a great striker! Top class, you don’t need any better! Arsenal need some experience in the middle field.
    Then I must say that Rosisky penalty was not so obvious and the referee missed many faults for our side, that alloud danger plays for Arsenal.
    The truth is that FC Porto can do more too! We have a good team but our coach respects too much the opponents! We proved last year against Utd in Old Trafford that we can do wonderfull things and discuss the game, when our confidence is high!
    One reminder: Arsenal never win in Portugal, are they bad travellers too?

  46. Andy, i agree with you in the fact that sol campbell made a mistake, the ref was right in punish that play as a backpass.
    But i think that fabiansky has to learn more, so in the short time he has to be nr2, almunia is no longer a nr1 long time ago, and arsenal needs to buy an experienced goalkeeper (buffon ?) to be strong 3-4 years while fabinasky developes playing in fa – carling cups

  47. Hypocritical nonsense? Couldnt disagree more. The ref is within his right to all a freekick to be taken quickly (though Id argue that inside the box it shouldnt be…) but if he is going to he needs to:

    1. Not take the ball from Fabianski so he thinks he is safe, then let them do it.
    2. Raise his arm to signal that play is allowed to continue (he does this after the goal is on its way in)
    3. Not block out our CB has a good article from a referee on the incident

  48. Buffon is a wonderful notion, but even by selling both Alminia and Fabianski we would never be able to compete for him in todays inflated market. There are very few genuinely excellent goalkeepers out there, never mind world class ones, that can possibly fit into our price range. Someone like Hugo Lloris would be amazing, but Lyon would never sell him cheaply.

    Having said all that, I do think Szczesny is already more confident and assured than the former two, with great agility allied to formidable stature, so I can see him as Arsenal number one in the near future. I would say it’s worth selling Almunia in the summer, bringing in a good 1st choice option who can compete with Manone and the Pole for the goalkeeping position.

    The Porto result wasn’t too bad, and we should do the job back at Ashburton Grove. Time to focus on the league and narrowing the gap before then.

  49. I am one fan who has never rated Almnia and Fabianski at all .They are simply rubbish, Young in mind and not good enough for mid table teams in the championships.Coach shouldnt look any where.The Italian keeper is more composed than any of those two bunch of fools.We have no time for mediocrity when other teams are taking titles. When will the team ever boost of a clean sheet with either of the two in goal.relegate them to the bench to learn from manone

  50. @andy, shambo what can i say.
    1/ for the 1st goal, fabianski made a mistake because the player who crossed it sliced the ball at yr keeper. Fabian should have reacted far better though and mentally is not ready yet.
    2/ The second goal, it looked to me as if Fabian expected Sol to pass it back but gave no clear indication like….keepers fucking ball…adding to that i think Sol passed it by accident with a bad touch but still did not expect Fabian to pick it up.
    3/ Every Arsenal player stood still because ‘like me’ there was no way that a ref was going to allow a quick free kick in the PENALTY AREA. They reacted in that way because they knew or thought the ref was going to blow wistle, or allow them to first build a wall 10 yrds away and most importantly get out of the way of the players because the refs position was all wrong and he lost control of what he was doing. I have NEVER agreed with quick free kicks when a defending team is in a situation which should allow them to build a wall OR PREPARE ITS PLAYERS, for they have that right. In the future if that situation occurs again and the ref does not allow it, it means that Porto was given an unfair advantage over every other team. There should be clear rules saying what should happen in a situation such as this. How can one ref allow it and another dosen’t. Remember, what Porto got was better than a penalty.
    4/Bendty, Clichy, Theo and Den, at this moment for what ever reason are not good enough for this level. Bendty and Clichy are far slower than they were before their injuries. Bendty look heavy legged and has no cutting edge at this moment.
    5/Defin pen for Asnl
    6/ Sorry boys but i have to say that Wenger is selling you all short. Look at the pattern of play in yr midfield and forward line. You cant defend well enough from the mid without Song and you get stuck to often in the final third because you ave no cutting edge or strength or pase up front. Theo is quick but at the moment headless. Yr back 4 are constantly under pressure when u loose the ball in the attacking last third because yr midfield cant get back quick enough because of the style of yr offensive players.
    Why is Eboue not starting more games, he is one of the few players that can get up and down and up and down and beat players and drive and pase and heart.
    Finally, what could you read from Fab’s face during his questioning and admition about the goals conceeded.
    I still say Arsenal are so close to having a great side and squad, the problem is Wenger wont change.

  51. Shambo by the way, Other than mistake i thought Sol was one of yr best players last night. Most of the time he made it look so easy. If only he was a few years younger he would get back in the England side. His defending was fantastic….other than the boob!!!!! Up de ammers.
    Who else to manage Arsenal.

  52. Boys most of your players are good enough, it’s just that you have to many similar ones. Other than Sol, they could all do a job across the middle of the park. All your back 4 are far more skillful than ours (Westham) and could play in our midfield.

  53. @Igor Silva…. arsenal are not a bad travellers…. the team has won many games away… portugal is another topic, adding that Arsenal have managed draws there but Porto have never evern sored a single goal at London, if I’m wrong, correct me please!.
    I agree with andy that fabianski deserves more time to develop because he always is puts too much pressure on himself and I believe that he has potential, but I feel terrible for him. I steel put him ahead of Almunia because he’s still young, it’s as simple as that. every one have thier own opinion, that’s mine.

  54. Your 2 Cntr half could do a very good job in the middle of the field in a 442 system. Yr fullbacks can get down the line and deliver and because they are use to getting back would do a better defensive midfield job than most of your middle. From this position Wenger would need to promote more defending defenders, like a young Sol…if you know what i mean.

  55. @zero,
    your first few commments were ridiculous and smacked of misplaced arrogance…..but then you wrote that last one and you actually made a valid point….but the majority of arsenal fans dont rate players outside our club becos we hav become accustomed to great players like vieira,henry,bergkamp and adams,and we hav been promised theres more to come,and they all gobble that bull up and stick their heads in the sand when reality comes into play…but heres the thing,i can actually look at players objectively and you are right.porto hav a history of unearthing and producing great great talents on a lower budget than that of arsenals,we are told to be patient and trust year after year…..player for player last nite you were the better team…and maybe better squad….you won a CL title a few years ago and lost your core,mourinho,carvalho and the likes and you hav still been a consistent CL league contender narrowly losing out to utd last deserve some respect because,in essence,you are wot arsene wenger claims us to be,a team who can produce great talent and success at minimum expense…..not only did you shame us with a more capable and committed team last night you also showed how overpaid these arsenal ‘prospects’ are….honestly if some of you seen the wages some of these guys are getting youd puke
    that said you will find a different animal waiting for you at the emirates…song,arsha and gallas will return and hopefully mannone will get his shout after proving the most trustworthy in his appearances this season…you will come up short but you made a point last nite that all arsenal fans should look at and ask themselves….’are we really producing quality?’………..denilson,bendtner,fabianski,vela and the 23M combo of nasri and walcott??
    if wenger could spent 12m on nasri how cud he not spend 40 on a david villa??????????that my friends is really paying over the odds

  56. alri ice,
    agree with you as always mate but am still a bit browned off so just pasted my opinion from earlier today…..i genuinely think wenger has lost his way….i know wer still in good nick and i know wel win the 2nd leg its just the mans isnt addressing glaring problems and failings in the team and squad because hes ridiculously stubborn and determined to prove a point to people who arent important….hes trying to outsmart the utds,chelseas,man citys and pools with absolutely no regard for the payin fan who is filling the emirates and turning over 3m a home game!!!!!
    and you just know cesc has made up his mind to leave

  57. @Andrew – Great article always good reading but i think you are far to positive. I think arsenal is going through a crisis 5 years no trophy. I dont know but to me, thats unacceptable.
    AW doesnt respect anyone, its apparent to him that he has a ignorant answer to any question that people would ask him. Its unfair but i think we can do better than we doing now. Like i said before and Shambo said too. We play all games with a plan A. We dont have anything else.
    Denilson is so fucking shit!!! he reminds me of adriano and ronaldihno.
    Almunia to me looks like one of does dudes who does well in training and when the game starts he chockes.

    There are plenty of good midfielders to buy in the market
    Yaya Toure
    Felipe Melo

  58. @Andrew – Yes its not a warrant but include last few loses into the equation. It adds up. Also i hope your not proud of the result cause that would be really strange.

    There is no way AW can be fired. He almost single handedly made arsenal into what it is now. An financially and well run club. In the business side of arsenal he dont need to get fired.

    All i want from him is to listen to the fans. Also to stop being a JEW.

  59. @webber, Don’t you realise that it is time for Wenger to move on? we genuine Arsenal fans are fed up seeing our team exposed as a team with no game plan, and who is to blame? They may play entertaining football sometimes, but the name of the game after all is to score goals and then to defend them. AW has shown extreme arrogance in persisting with this bunch of ‘might have beens’ and in not attempting to acquire a decent goalie and instead sold Adebayor. That’s foresight for you! Honestly I won’t be putting any money on winning against Porto next time, as this defence will never stop to surprise us.

  60. Kamikaze defending combined with comedy goalkeeping. We have had both all season but fortunately before Wednesday, not in the same game!

    The ref was the guy who missed Thierry’s handball – he must think he is still an Arsenal player. Mind you he was so far away from the Rosicky penalty he would have needed a telescope.

    Couldn’t possibly be as bad in the second leg (could we?) and with Song, Arshavin, and Gallas back you would think we should be able to win comfortably. How many times was Fabregas pulled down – that was a disgrace.

    Despite all the negative comments I thought Bendtner did ok – disappointed with Denilson and Clichy – again.

    back to the EPL – we can beat Sunderland, hope Everton continue their good form against Manure and pray Cech has a howler v Wolves!

  61. @ eddy – Argh, it’s just not time for him to move on. I can’t really be bothered arguing with this but for goodness sakes, wait until the end of the season.

  62. @eddy-Imagine this scenario,Wenger leaves Arsenal:
    This is going to be the likely outcome and I am going to lay it out harsh and brutally and from each position in our team:
    Goalkeeper-All the Keepers will Stay.

    Defenders:Campbell,Silvestre,Gallas to leave.The rest including Vermaelen,Sagna and Clichy will stay.What do we have?Djourou?Senderos?Conclusion:More players needed to be signed.

    Midfielders: This is our core position and will see Captain Cesc,Arshavin both leaving for Barcelona. Fabregas has always admired Wenger as a ‘father figure’ and him leaving would only add fuel to the speculation. Arshavin has always been an admirer for Barcelona and Wenger’s philosophy so if Wenger leaves,what reason is there for him to stay.Onwards to Barcelona then. Rosicky and Diaby recently signed a new long term deal so they will stay.Nasri,Walcott,Denilson(I do not fancy him) and Ramsey I suspect will stay dedicated to Arsenal’s course.Merida…meh…don’t really know what he’ll offer but I see him going too if Wenger leaves.

    Strikers:The only concern is the need for more strikers. Bendtner,Eduardo have not been in good form this season,well they have been always injured so can’t really bag them for it.This leaves Van Persie and Vela.Van Persie is our only recognised Striker anyway so I do suspect he will stay and Vela too.

    Key points:Losing Cesc and Arshavin is like losing a heart and they have been key less so Arshavin but he adds an attacking strength to our team and can conjure up moments of brilliance(Liverpool last season, Man United and again Liverpool this season).Wenger has built a team that has an average age of 23. Chelsea’s is 29. 6 years difference of experience.

    Everyone is getting on the back of AWenger due to our recent lack of form but in fairness to him, I think he has done a good job. I blame our poor form to the lack of cohesion in the team. When do we ever see the same team out in 2 consecutive games? It’s always one player in, 3 players out. This weekend’s game against Sunderland, we lose Diaby……again…..our injuries this season has been appalling and if we don’t win anything this season, that is the MAIN reason i feel, not Wenger’s fault.In the summer, the medical team and Wenger has to address this issue to keep our players fit for at least 10 games straight!

    Patience is key in this testing time for all Arsenal fans. Yes, we have not won a trophy for 4 years, Yes it is frustrating. But this season, we have looked decent enough bar our defensive frailties to challenge for the league.If we had everyone fit and got a decent run going with our ‘easy’ run of fixtures,we can finish minimum 2nd.
    I ain’t predicting anything these days but taking it along as each games goes as with is bloody unpredictable!

    Conclusion: Back Wenger,be patient with him. Our team WILL come good. The only worry for us as fans if Cesc doesn’t leave…All signs do point to him leaving though and I can see a video ala Henry before he left for Barcelona coming…oh..the dread…let’s hope he stays..

  63. aka Ronaldo7.

    Been a while since i have commented on here. I dont think sacking AW will benefit the club at all. I think he still needs to be in charge, however i do believe there prob needs to be a new assistant coach who then after a couple years can become the Manager.

    Arsenal wont win anything with the side they have playing on the field atm. If RVP was playing i think ud get close. But with wenger knowing RVP was out for the season he needed to go out and get himself a very good striker to replace him (he has the money from the sale of Ade). On a united perspective i can assure you that Fergie would have gone and bought David Villa if Rooney injured himself early in the season.

    Also need a experienced goal keeper. Too many games lost on goal keeping errors.

  64. Chill mates, so we lost what can we do. We all know the players we have, no point in clinging to past memories of our great players, the players now is all that matters. How hard we wish we would never get another Bergkamp or even Ray Parlour.

    On Wenger, lets face it the man is here to stay, we just have to ride it out untill his terms expire. But when that time comes there’s another dilemma of whoes actually good enough to take over. Sometimes its fascinating that the most talked about comment from Arsenal supporters is players or Arsene is ‘not good enough’ I wonder who is good enough for Arsenal.

    Maybe its a blessing we lost to Porto, from the repeat I saw we weren’t actually that good. The goals we conceded exhibits naivenes, not just fabianski but the whole team is to blame. Any football supporter can see our team is stuck, there haven’t been any progression in play or tactics. Next season would be crucial , hope we don’t stay stuck anymore.

  65. @Cesc4Life

    You got to be kidding me. If you are attempting to scare anyone you failed. First of all if AW does leave no1 would leave. With Cesc wether AW is there or not, he would leave anyway. With the rest of team they will stay stop being a fucking scared dude. AW isnt a god he is a normal person.

    A good scenario is to compare with chelsea. It was Maurinos team but yet Ancolotti is doing well. So thats a stupid argument. Also i love AW but he is to fucking foolish to think he can continue to embarass everyone with hes arrogance and bullshit. Fuck it i dont like to wait any longer its been 5 years.

    He has the team the talent. He just need to figure out the winning formula. Like i said before play with a game plan. We need more leaders, thats why Sol is the team, but he isnt a starter. We lack the pace or the game experience to win crucial games.

    Our players are the best box to box players you can find but it feels like its all they can do. They seem unable to change the game plan on themselves rather than wait for half time to be told wat to do.
    I am starting to think the only reason AW likes young players is the fact that non would have the balls to challenge his ideas.

  66. I really want to add something but however did not get all the way through the 74 comments left, constrained by the ticking clock of my lunch break. Buffon is perhaps a more far out option than it would be signing another decent keeper. There are many things which would make this a smart option. Buffon has declinned in his form. While still better than Almunia and Fabianski, there is little to suggest that he can improve further, so in two years Fabianksi with improvement could be in teh same position as Buffon, all the while remaining the number two. Second point suggests that it is unlikely because he is Italian, and Italian’s have a huge devotion to their club, and their league. And with that, i would also think that the club would never sell him. Hugo Lloris would be an outstanding option in many ways. Young. Cheaper. Improving. He would be an option for the next 5 years, while Buffon could not compare to this. next season, we must see a change. We saw the year before last that Almunia was not good enough in comparison to the other top teams. Yet he changed this opinion with well earned praise after an outstanding season. Yet this year he has seemed to decline. We need a new keeper. I wish Fabianski to improve however I do not think that his improvement should come at the cost of losing two or three games. We have seen how important, and influention goal keeping blunders can be to our season.

  67. Look, year in year out Arsenal do consistently well across the board. Mr. Wenger has put together a quality side. They are not as good as 5 years back but they are still class. The first 11 could challenge for any competition. The problem is the strength in depth when a first teamer is crook in ANY position.

    I honestly don’t know what is going on with Walcott. He has lost his touch. I’m hoping he will come on stronger towards the end of the season but for now he’s no chance of a place on the plane to SA. Nasri, well the chap has a nice touch but you wouldn’t write home about his pace. Rosicky, he’s fantastic but is still to find his best form coming back from injury.

    We need to be faithfull to the Song, Fab, Diaby, Ashavin combo. It’s a MASSIVE loss regarding Van Persie this season and I think with VP fully fit, the title would have been much more likely. As it is, it’s heads down and may the best team win. And on paper, we’re looking good. I’ve got a hundred on the boys to win the title and i’m not worrying yet. Frustrated yes. Worried no.

  68. Look here guys.. as bad as we have played recently, dont you find it funny that at this stage we are still in the title hunt? still have a very winnable Champions League tie?

    It astonishes me that we play this terrible, endure goalkeeping errors that we havent seen in 3rd division matches and we only loose 2-1 away (and we have that crucial away goal)..

    We’ve managed to qualify on Italian soil twice in the past 2 yrs.. Now we play at home vs a Porto side that havent won on English territory for decades), surely this is not “Mission Impossible”…

    MY CUP IS STILL HALF FULL and I’m looking forward for a decent form surge in the games too come..we are due for a couple of great Arsenal games…and we will deliver when it matters most.. at the end!!

    Quit the whinning and lets prepare for a fight (with or without the odds)
    we have learned great lessons in the last few games:
    -Loosing doesnt mean the end of the world
    -when conceiving free kick, play dirty, hold the ball…kick it..
    -fouling is part of the game and we need to catch a yellow card every now and then..
    -Denilson SUCKS!
    -And Goalkeepers are important members of the squad and quality is a must!

  69. @Andy: I agree with you totally on your second option to keep Fabianski in goal for the rest of the season. He will become a very good goalkeeper!

  70. If our gunners had a strong team,we would’nt have to care about away or home game.But the team was in bad condition,not sure even for a draw.Who will help the poor gunners?Reduce the low quality French players.

  71. What is annoying the hell out of me is that we have a serious keeper crisis, none of the three of them are good enough? Arsene seems blind to this fact and from some of the above comments a lot of other gooner’s fans are in the same boat. How many really good keepers moved clubs last season: two great examples are Friedel and Given but Arsene wouldn’t pay the extra couple of million it would have taken to bag them. On form Van der Saar and Cech earn their respective clubs a lot of useful points. Our numpties lose us cup ties and seriously damage our title challenges. Time for Arsenal to start thinking about new blood between the posts.

  72. To me just give Manone a chane to play three matches in a row, he will be betterr than both Alimunia and Lucas. I believe Lucas is good but he lacks confidence yet which Vito does. Alimunia is probably a class fit to play in cocacola championship. If you watched Man U vs AC milan then u would know the significance of having a good goal keeper because the defence cannot be all the time perfect, so that is where the goal keeper comes in. To hell with Alimunia and fabiaski.

  73. Portugese are cheats look at the UEFA cup final against Celtic a fantastic club with some of the best support in the world robbeed blind by disgusting tactics from Deco etc whilst been lead by Mouriniho. Do we really want that at Arsenal look at there vile cheating in world cup qualifiers againt Bosnia and Herz and now again with Porto. I thought we where intrested in Falcao once over but chuffed because did you see the mug celebrate his tap in. Then there is Ronaldo but to be fair he dosent dive as much as Gerrard and Rooney. I also think Cesc will go it breaks my heart i will have to take down my 40 by 30 inch canvas in my front room of him!!!

  74. alri laninja,
    you asked a question mate….’who is good enough for arsenal?’….in response to some of the criticisms i and others hav been aiming at almunia,deni and the artful dodger bluffing sensation that is nasri……the way you asked the question is like wer a mother in law who doesnt think any girl is good enough for her son…..ha ha ha,made me laugh
    the point is mate that i,and my fellow fans who share my disposition,are not partcularly looking for the most technically gifted overpriced players out there….wev already signed a few of those!!!!!
    the fundamental ingredient of any successful team or a team with a desire to achieve is wot?????…….honesty of effort and a commitment to work….these attributes are even more important in the PL…..thats y lampard,terry,fletcher,scholes,carrick,etc hav proved to be of such imprtance to their teams.
    our main players hav this,and it seems a genuine love for the club…cesc,RvP,gallas,verm,arsha,song,even clichy….they are honest and play really forthe jersey….its evident in every game that the give their all……subconsciously thats why we love them,its more than their technical ability.
    in the past we hav had players like bould,dixon,keown,adams,merson,platt and more recently parlour and freddie,who maybe the greatest example….neither ray or freddie wer blessed with the technical skills of nasri,say, yet their honesty and endeavor every time they put on the shirt made them,and us, you remember that run of goals per game freddie had at the end of our league winning season years ago??all those goals wer gut busting runs,puttin himself in where it counts with sheer will and determination…they wernt curled in the top corner or he never waltzed ballet style by 4 defs
    thats wot i want,honest proud arsenal players who dont come off the not even needing a shower!!!
    nasri,deni,walcot,almunia….will never be in the same league as parlour or merson or wright and this where the manager must be held accountable becos he signed players with a real lack of work ethic
    there are dozens of PL players that fit the mould im talking about and cud be a success at arsenal…heres a few..
    scott parker,carlton cole,kenwyn jones,darren bent,paul sharner,jimmy bullard,robert huth/shawcross,jasskeleinen,joe hart(or any of the other 17 keepers),kevin doyle,tim cahill,richard dunne who went for 5m at a time when our back up was sylvestre!!!
    youd be surprised how good these players wud be alongside our better players…and they wud shame nasri and co into the ground

  75. What has Nasri done that is really got ppl Pissed off, I think his bein goin ok he hasn’t played that bad well not that bad for ppl to say to get rid of him. Don’t really understand sorry guys, I think he’s ok!!!!

  76. kurupt,
    its not that hes a bad person,that i hate him or wish any harm on him…..for godsakes they hav to judged in the context of being footballers and on how they perform,its their jobs and wot their paid so much money to do,money that 80,000 loyal fans fork out every time we play at home.
    that said,and if you look at it in those terms,his contribution is minimal in most games he plays….doesnt go by any one,cant cross,doesnt shoot and most importantly wont head,tackle or track back when we dont hav the ball,if you wer an employer and wer paying you staff good money in good faith and they wer doin less than half of wot u hired them to do wud u tolerate it????i mean dont come on sayin wot has he done wrong like its something personal,il ask you this,wot has he done right???or wot has he done to deserve defending???oh yeah he scored 2 goals in 1 game…that merits 70,000 a week over 4 years does it

  77. Haha Shambo I knew I get you on the “who is good enough” :P. Frankly I understand your stance, actually I too do want some players to be added though not in the way of Real Madrid but just to cover and add more variety to our tactics.

    On Arsene I’ll reserve my opinions untill next season. I really want to see what he does after the world cup, maybe he’ll surprise us by buying some good buys. You never know which player will surprise us in south africa, remember Gheorge Hagi, he was hot property after the world cup.

    Nowadays I just feel numb when Arsenal loses or win, kinda like a long term gf whoes gonna be your wife, who is gonna nag to you all your life but is great in bed and a great cook.

  78. i also complained about nasri last year i think because i cud not wait 4 him 2 come back and replace diaby. um not sure wot his role is. he plays wide but he is always looking 4 a short pass and it doesnt get us anywhere. um disappointed in him but i also lay the blame with wenger, nasri and tomas are not wingers. they get the ball wide and wait 4 some1 to play wit and give opposition enuff time 2 get back. we need wingers who are able to eliminate fullbacks and give us space. other teams have benefited from eliminating our fullbacks this season.

  79. Sambo I know what u sayin I don’t care what kind of person he isnoff the field. But I still think as a player he is gud and it’s not him that’s not playin bad or up to your standards its ppl around him like deni and almunia they are th ones that are doin absollutely nothing to help the team, I mean for me the guy put in an I think he is a gr8 asset to the team. If u wanna say he hasn’t been doin much well look at arashvin, I’m not baggin him but he hasn’t been playin up to what we know he can. So u can’t just say nasri should be shipped out and not fit to wear the jersey, when there’s other ppl in our team that don’t deserve to be there who need criticism first. That’s all mate.

    And just to let u know I am not say arashvin is shit or should be sold, he a gr8 player,one of my favorites. I’m just sayin at the moment he isn’t playin like what we know he can I don’t know wheather it’s down to him playin injured or confidence, but we all know he is a better player than what he is at the moment.

  80. @Lil Weezy has a very good point – that with all the injuries, own goals and other fiasco’s that we’ve endured this season, somehow we’re still up near the top of the table and in with a good chance of making the Champs League 1/4 finals. We’ve had three goal keeping own-goals alone – one by Fabianski and two by Almunia. How often does that happen? We also had the own goal by Diaby that gifted the 3 points to manure. We’ve had 1 penalty decision given in the league all season! One! And Cesc missed it. Honestly, when I think about it, it’s amazing and imagine what things could have been like had we kept RVP & Gibbs and players like Djorou and Nasri not been crocked from the start.
    On the Nasri subject although he’s not in great form right now it’s ridiculous how some people are slating him. He’s a class player and some supporters must have very short memories. He’ll be back.
    Finally – as a long time supporter I have to say I’m loving seeing Sol back. I thought he had a brilliant game against Porto. Reminded me of the old days. Make him Captain and give Cesc a break from shouldering all the burden. When Gallas comes back, as he’s also in good form, I’d play both Gallas and Sol in the centre. Sagna and Traore left and right (Clichy’s lost if for the moment and needs more time out). Then I’d put Diaby and Vermaelen in the middle on either side of Cesc. Arsha and Rocky up front either side of Eduardo. Killer! Oh – and Mannone in goal.

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